Time to kill

McConaughey and Zellweger take a Chainsaw to their careers

If McConaughey gets the best role, Zellweger--bespectacled and frumpy at the beginning, dolled up and hoarse by the end--gets the most thankless: Her script must have read, "Scream. Run. Scream." The 1974 original was creepy mostly because of its set pieces, the house strewn with odd skeletal sculptures and human pelts; and Leatherface was a genuinely horrifying dude, a monster with the world's biggest carving knife. But The Next Generation turns Leatherface (here played by Robbie Jacks, an Austin songwriter who used to host a smacked-up radio show with Butthole Surfer Gibby Haynes) into a cross-dressing nancy boy who screams more than he saws.

The only creepout comes when Rothman (James Gale), sporting a natty suit and a bad hairpiece and a chest plate made of someone else's flesh, shows up near the end and licks Zellweger's face. But by then, the whole damned thing has become just a little monotonous--everybody yells and fights and fights and yells and yells some more. Hey, shut up and die already.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation.
Renee Zellweger, Matthew McConaughey, Robbie Jacks, Tonie Perenski, Joe Stevens. Written and directed by Kim Henkel. Opens Friday.

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